For the last six years, I've completed the MURPH workout during the Memorial Day stretch as a member of Versus Strength and Conditioning. It's the best most terrible thing I do all year, and I look forward to it simply because I push myself the hardest in the name of someone who fought through much more and much worse.
In honor of its namesake, the workout takes a person through a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and another 1-mile run. Originally prescribed with a 20# vest or body armor, the workout is meant to hurt in all of the worst ways.
When I put my goals down on paper this year, I told Coach Steve that I wanted to do MURPH vested. I’ve had to modify the workout over the years due to a jankety shoulder (ring rows and assisted push ups), and I’ve definitely never done the workout with a vest. But this year, I wanted to set a goal that I really had to dig deep and work for… and one that meant a lot to me other than to check off a “thing to do.”
While the workout itself is named for Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy Seal who was killed in action during Operation Redwing, it has grown to mean a lot more to me over the years. The Memorial Day holiday follows National Police Week, which falls right after the anniversary of losing Hattiesburg's officers Liquori Tate and Benjamin Deen.
In the midst of MURPH - the inevitable burn from squats and tired shoulders from push-ups - it’s really easy to have thoughts that hover around “I quit.” To push through that, you have to have a mindset that the pain is temporary and that it's not even close to the ultimate sacrifice made by so many who went to work out of a calling to serve and protect (our city, state and country). It still hurts like hell, but pushing through it takes on a more purposeful meaning.
If you know me, you know my heart beats strongly for my friends in blue. I don’t want to complete MURPH vested - just to say I did it. Inspired by my friend Jim Coll’s recent endeavor to run 50 miles in the name of The Arc, I’m putting the goal in writing and tying it to a purpose. In mid-May, I’ll complete MURPH in a 14# vest in the name of the 263 police officers who have fallen in the line of duty in Mississippi and for every officer in Mississippi who continues to risk a whole heck of a lot to keep their communities safe. Along the way, I’ll raise funds for the Blue Line Legacy Scholarship fund.
In 10 years, no one will care that I did this workout. But if one more person understands that our freedom and safety comes at a cost and if it helps put dollars toward furthering the education of officers, their spouses and children - it will be more than worth it.
May is just around the corner, but it's also far enough away that it will be really easy to fall down on the consistency and discipline it takes to train. I hope you’ll join me by holding me accountable, sharing the word and maybe donating a dollar or two toward a cause that means a whole heck of a lot to me.
About the Blue Line Legacy Fund:
All funds raised will be donated to the Pinebelt Foundation in the name of the Blue Line Legacy Fund, a scholarship established to provide financial support to further the educational aspirations of traditional and/or non-traditional students who are currently working in law enforcement, are the spouse of a law enforcement officer or are a dependent of a law enforcement officer.